After a school in Sydney made the news for making it common practice, we recently addressed the parenting pickle of birthday party invitations: Should we ban kids from handing them out to their friends at school? Is that fair to the children in the class who aren’t invited? Or are we being a little too sensitive in even suggesting we take that joy away from our children ahead of their Frozen-themed 7th birthday?
We thought long and hard about how it may affect kids if they weren’t invited to the party and ended up feeling excluded and alone. But when we weighed the potential aftermath of rejection against the risk of not building resilience that they’ll need in years to come, we chose resilience.
Read the full story here: Kids can’t hand out party invitations at school? Fair? Or are we being a little too sensitive?
We asked parents what they thought of the policy, which many schools in SA have adopted too. Some commented that the only way to go was to invite the entire class, others wrote in, “What a load of codswallop!”
“Invite the whole class for the first few years”
Nicki Victor Jones commented, "Invite the whole class for the first few years, then just the boys or girls depending on the child, then around grade three and four start inviting just some who are actually friends. But never just leaving one or two kids out, that’s just mean. The parties get smaller as they get older, soon it’s just a handful of friends.
"But giving the power to a small child to hand out invitations is just silly and I agree with the school."
"Anything that adds to making the "unpopular" kids lives a bit easier is a win in my eyes"
Cleo Okhuis made the point that it's not about being "too sensitive". Some kids have it really hard at school - why not make things a little easier for them?
"I am all for this. Not every child is popular or the bell of the ball. It is a good initiative. It's enough that "the outcasts" get bullied and tormented, so anything that adds to making the "unpopular" kids lives a bit easier is a win in my eyes."
But other parents felt the rule was simply ridiculous.
"Children need to learn small disappointments"
Esmae Barnes Emslie made a good point that echoed what we initially said: "Children need to learn about small disappointments from an early age so that they can learn to handle bigger disappointments when they are adults."
Also read: Teaching your child 'academic buoyancy' will help them deal with school-based challenges
"There is a balance between learning and protecting"
Renaldo Nel agreed, saying, "We really ought to rethink the coddling culture that has manifested itself in modern parenting.
"Parents keep the training wheels on far too long. As a result, young adults today often struggle to perform the most basic of tasks that characterise adulthood. I am often perplexed by the social and financial incompetence that has manifested in my generation.
"Coddling children has lead to a generation that is “offended” by insignificant events.
"Children who grow up young, face realities of life soon and grow to be resilient will have an easier time at life.
He added, "I am not advocating that children are completely stripped of emotional protection from their parents, but there is a balance between learning and protecting. Unfortunately, it seems as if the social trend has tipped the balance toward overprotection.
Also read: Protecting your kids from failure isn’t helpful. Here’s how to build their grit
“I need to teach my child to respect and be tolerant and fair to all, I do not need to teach them to like everyone”
Judy MacGregor, an educator and mom, responded, pointing out something we may not have taken into consideration when taking one or the other side.
"As an educator and the mom of 7, with 2 children who has Aspergers and were prone to bullies, let me just say whilst I need to teach my child to respect and be tolerant and fair to all, I do not need to teach them to like everyone.
"Therefore whom they give an invite to or not shouldn't be a school issue at all.
"I think we are raising children who will not be able to function in a real world society by doing this."
She added what should be in place in schools instead, saying, "If you have children who are excluded rather train your teachers to spot this and open up class discussions and lessons on inclusion.
"But taking a child's free choice of whom to invite away isn't going to teach them anything."
What are your thoughts on the topic? Does your school have a policy in place to protect learners' feelings? Tell us and we may publish your comments.
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